Posted Date: 08/19/2021
COPPERAS COVE, TX (July 27, 2021)— Mental health problems can affect many areas of students’ lives, reducing their quality of life, academic achievement, physical health, and satisfaction with the college experience, and negatively impacting relationships with friends and family members. These issues can also have long-term consequences for students, affecting their future employment, earning potential, and overall health.
Copperas Cove ISD began offering mental health services to students at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and offered a summer enrichment camp for the second consecutive year to meet the social emotional needs of students.
CCISD Director of Behavioral Support Services Rhonda Burnell said the continued need for services is evident by the overwhelming number of student applications received from parents for their children to participate in the daily summer enrichment camp.
“We had over 500 requests for camp admission this year and made final selections based on campus counselors referring students who had the highest need for support in the area of behavior and emotional support,” Burnell said.
The day camp expanded its capacity this year to serve 100 students. Average daily attendance was approximately 75 students. Burnell said some students were not able to continue attending camp due to things like not having consistent transportation.
“The camp exceeded my expected goal with daily attendance and minimal behavioral challenges from students,” Burnell said. “The group of students who participated in camp learned skills we hope they will utilize once they return to school. Being able to proactively provide support helps reduce the future occurrence of behavioral challenges from students on campus and gives students a greater chance at having academic success.”
Campers participated in daily social emotional learning lessons where they were taught skills about communication, self-calming strategies, coping skills and how negative thinking patterns contribute to making bad decisions. All lessons were age-appropriate and sequenced for continued growth over the course of the camp, Burnell said. Students also participated in extended learning activities where they were able to demonstrate the skills they learned.
“The district will continue to offer supportive services and resources in the area of behavior health through community-based partnerships,” Burnell said. “The district will provide evidenced-based social emotional learning curriculum to help support the social and emotional development of all students.”
At the start of the 2020-2021 school year, CCISD began offering telehealth mental health counseling for all students through the Texas Child Health Access Network. The district also implemented behavioral health and general pediatric services through the School Based Healthcare Solutions Network. Both programs will continue to be offered in the 2021-2022 school year.